A new study co-authored by JoAnn Manson, professor in the department of epidemiology at HSPH and chief, division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, found that for menopausal women who have had hysterectomies, the risks of stroke and other health problems associated with estrogen pills diminish after women stop taking them. The researchers also unexpectedly found evidence of a reduced risk of breast cancer among this population; however, they caution that more research is needed.

“We need to look closely at these findings to see if we can learn more about ways to prevent breast cancer in women,” Manson told the The New York Times.

The study reinforces current recommendations that women can take low doses of estrogen pills for a limited time to relieve the symptoms of menopause. The study focused only on women who have had hysterectomies. Women who have not are prescribed a combination estrogen and progestin pill.

The study appeared in the April 6, 2011 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Read abstract.

Read Times article and column.